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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Sammy Turner born 2 June 1932


Sammy Turner (born Samuel Black, 2 June 1932, Paterson, New Jersey, USA) briefly achieved fame in the late 50s as a rock 'n' roll balladeer, whose speciality was recycled pop songs of the past, particularly those by Guy Lombardo. With his sweet, mellifluous voice, he was favourably compared to singers like Tommy Edwards and The Platters' Tony Williams.
Turner grew up in Paterson, New Jersey and developed an interest in singing and song writing at an early age. When the Korean War began in 1950 he put his dreams on hold and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, later serving active duty as a paratrooper. Afterwards Sammy returned to Jersey and worked as an accounting clerk, moonlighting on weekends as a nightclub singer.
 He was spotted by long-time record promoter and music manager Herb Lutz, who was looking for a guy who could pull off some of the old standards Herb had loved and, in some cases, helped develop the first time around. Atlantic Records showed some interest, but Bienstock offered a better percentage and Sammy turned up on Big top’s doorstep in the late 50’s. Either way, he wouldn't have missed out on working with hitmakers Leiber and Stoller.
 


His most notable record was a remake of a Sammy Kaye hit from 1949, "Lavender Blue" (number 14 R&B/number 3 pop), in 1959. Three follow-ups were similarly remakes of old pop hits: "Always" (number 2 R&B/number 20 pop), a frequently recorded pop song, and a notable hit for Vincent Lopez in 1926 and Guy Lombardo in 1945; "Symphony" (number 82 pop), a hit for Freddy Martin, Guy Lombardo, and others in 1946; and Paradise" (number 13 R&B/number 46 pop), a Guy Lombardo hit from 1932.
He came to the UK in 1959 and made a couple of appearances on Boy Meets Girl, which also helped push 'Always' into the UK charts, peaking at #26.

Although essentially a pop performer, because of his African-American heritage Turner also garnered considerable success on the R&B charts. However, he was unable to make the transition into the soul era, and rapidly faded as a recording artist after 1960. The hits dried up, he left Big Top, a couple of years passed, then Motown gave him a shot; "Only You," sounding somewhere between the Platters' original and Turner's own "Lavender-Blue," reveals the similarity between Sammy's and Tony Williams' voices that Herb Lutz heard at the start. The label also promoted the B side, "Right Now," but neither song clicked. It was his only Motown release.

His experience at Detroit's top company led to other Motor City recording sessions, resulting in one single on 20th Century-Fox in 1965. The following year, Teddy Randazzo produced him for Verve Records; "Our Love Will Grow and Grow" was reviewed by Billboard magazine in August 1966 (they said it "should prove a top-of-the-chart item," an unfortunately inaccurate prediction). Sammy worked with soul singer George Kerr in the late 1960s and composed "My Heart Needs a Break" for Linda Jones, a strong effort produced by Kerr.
 In the '70s, Turner worked as a background singer, contributing to albums by Donny Hathaway (his self-titled 1971 set), Roberta Flack (Quiet Fire, 1971) and Aretha Franklin (Young, Gifted and Black, 1972). He emerged again in 1978 with a smooth, jazzy soul song, "Do You Know (What Life is All About)." He and Kerr also contributed backing vocals to Joan Armatrading's top-selling 1980 album Me Myself I. All in all, Sammy Turner turned out a fine body of work...and was fortunate enough to have a phrase (in this case the endearingly silly "Dilly Dilly") that he'll always be remembered for.

 (info mainly edited from waybackattack.com & Oldies.com)

2 comments:

boppinbob said...

For The Best Of Sammy Turner go here:
http://www20.zippyshare.com/v/93Y5oMEJ/file.html
(I’ve added 6 bonus tracks)

1. SWEET ANNIE LAURIE (as Sammy Turner & The Twisters)
2. THUNDERBOLT (as Sammy Turner & The Twisters)
3. LAVENDER BLUE
4. WRAPPED UP IN A DREAM
5. ALWAYS
6. SYMPHONY
7. PARADISE
8. I'D BE A FOOL AGAIN
9. GOODNIGHT IRENE
10. I WANT TO BE LOVED
11. STAY MY LOVE
12. FOOLS FALL IN LOVE
13. THE THINGS I LOVE
14. FALLING
15. LITTLE SIR ECHO
16. LOVE KEEPS CALLING
17. STARLIGHT, STARBRIGHT
18. LET'S DONKEY ON DOWN
19. THE FOOL OF THE YEAR
20. POUR IT ON
21. RAINCOAT IN THE RIVER
22. HONEY
23. I CAN DREAM, CAN'T I .
24. ONLY YOU
25. RIGHT NOW
26. FOR YOUR LOVE I’LL DIE
27. THE HOUSE I LIVE IN
28. GIVE MY HEART A BREAK
29. NOTHING CAN SEPARATE OUR LOVE

zephyr said...

Many thanks Bob I have always liked Sammy Turner